The Most Beautiful Island in the World


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Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Santorini
September 21st 2009
Published: September 21st 2009EDIT THIS ENTRY

For more of my photos, or to buy my book, please visit www.nickkembel.com

Which words do I use to summarize one of the most beautiful places I have ever been?

I have wanted to go to Greece for as long as I can remember, and Santorini was always the part I wanted to visit the most.

The tiny C shaped island is composed of the remains of an enormous volcanic eruption some 3600 years ago that is thought to have contributed to the downfall of the ancient Minoan civilization by sending an enormous tsunami to neighboring Crete. In the center of the C sits a small black island which is actually the volcano's caldera, and to this day it is still active and produces warm water springs which spill into the ocean and tourists pile on to boats to go swim in them.

The violent explosion left much of Santorini's coastline as sheer cliffs dropping down to the sea, and inhabitants over the centuries have built their houses and churches into the sides of them, using whitewash and a variety of volcanic ashes as coloring, the result being the distinctive white and blue architecture that is so commonly associated with Santorini, and Greece in general.

Fira, the capital city, sits royally at the center of the island, built onto an enormous cliff overlooking the sea to both sides of the island. The west side drops dramatically down to the ocean, with spectacular views over the caldera. A labyrinth of vertical staircases and whitewash buildings huddle together to form this breathtaking, incredibly picturesque conglomerate of colors. Tourists crowd the streets and cafe patios, snapping thousands of pictures by the minute and consuming overpriced meals where the view more than compensates. At night they journey en masse to Oia, another spectacular perched village at the northern end of the island which is renowned for it's sunsets.

With my meager budget in mind, I chose to stay in the only cheap hostel on the island, located in a black-sand beach community in the south of the island called Perissa. I rented a scooter and passed the days navigating the winding roads around the island, rejoicing in the raw beauty of the island, absorbing the fresh air, and of course stopping frequently along the way to take pictures. I met great people in the hostel, including Australian Cece,
Red BeachRed BeachRed Beach

I have never seen anything like this before...
and feeling ambitious one morning, we climbed an adjacent mountain only to discover ancient ruins that we hadn't even known about on the top, and then after we cooled off at the spectacular Red Beach. And then, as a perfect end to my stay, sunset drinks beside a pool.

For more of my photos, or to buy my book, please visit www.nickkembel.com


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Scootering around the islandScootering around the island
Scootering around the island

The capital city, Fira, is visible in the distance, and the volcanic caldera to the left


22nd September 2009

Greece
I really enjoyed my time in Greece as well. The people were interesting and passionate in general. The mythology adds such an interesting twist to the history. I intend to go back and explore, and your pics and stories are a great motivation! Alan

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